Strike action in the public sector has always raised the ire of many people in society. Disruptions in vital services can cause major inconvenience and concern for the general public. With many people in the private sector not belonging to a union, the right to strike can seem unfair. Teaching is no exception, and recent industrial action by some teaching unions has raised the debate yet again.
For parents of school age children, teacher strikes cause a major headache. Schools must close if they don’t have the correct staffing levels, which could leave parents to sort emergency childcare or take time off work, and each day a of a child’s education is precious.
However, Teachers never take strike action lightly. Firstly, they aren’t paid for strike days (consider this next time you say “I wish I could go on strike!”) and can be torn between disagreeing with the action, but wishing to support their Union and those members who voted to strike. Secondly, teachers care about their students and want them to succeed. They understand better than most the importance of each school day and never take the decision to strike lightly. They also care about the relationship between school and parents, which is so vital in delivering a rounded education to children. We should always examine the motives for strike action whenever it’s taken in the public sector. We rely on public sector workers for some of the most important and serious aspects of life… if they’re so important to us, are we valuing them enough?